Selling A House With Unpermitted Work In Maine

Unpermitted works refer to constructions that have not received the required municipal permission. In other words, the city is either unaware that you’re doing the work, are unsure if it’s up to the current code, or would not authorize it.

Sometimes, homeowners work when they wish to construct an extension or add new features by themselves. They either don’t realize that they need a permit for the work or are aware that it will not be approved and proceed anyway.

Unpermitted works may make the home buying and home selling process more complicated. For instance, purchasing a property with unpermitted works may have an impact on your house insurance and capacity to seek repairs. 

Read on to find out what unpermitted work entails and how it affects your real estate chances.

How Do Property Work Permit Work In Maine?

How Do Property Work Permit Work In Maine?

Like every other city, there are specific constructions you can carry out on your property that will not require you to obtain a permit legally upfront. Simple projects like minor electrical works, floor installation, and painting will likely not need a permit. However, if you’re going to add a window, a fence, or a room to your house, you’ll most definitely need one.

Permits may seem to be nothing more than a tangle of red tape, but they are designed to protect homes. You’ll need a permit for projects to guarantee that they adhere to local building laws such as zoning, land use, and construction.

The process of obtaining a permit in Maine is as follows:

1.       Contact your local building office before starting the renovation work

2.       Fill the permit, including schematics and drawings where applicable

3.       Submit the completed permit and pay the required fee

4.       Post the permit

5.       Invite an inspector to review the work

6.       Remove the permit after completing the completion of the project at the inspector’s approval.

Why Do You Need Work Permits On Your Property?

There are several compelling reasons to acquire the necessary building permits on your property. Some of the main reasons why permits are essential include:

  • Keeps Your Insurance Intact

Your insurance may not compensate you if you construct anything without a permit and injure yourself or make a mistake. However, building with a permit ensures that you know the dangers and have obtained express authorization to proceed with your project.

  • Makes Property Sale Easier

When property owners try to sell their properties through multiple listing associations, the law requires them to disclose any repairs or improvements they made on the property. More importantly, the owners need to tell if they obtained the necessary permits and home inspections.

Without evidence of a final home inspection, most investors will refuse to fund a property purchase. However, if you decide to sell a house or structure that has been modified without due permission, you may be forced to leave it vacant, demolish the addition, or make expensive repairs.

Also, a potential buyer will likely find out in the long run if you carried out the home renovations on the property they’re about to buy without a permit. Unfortunately, most people don’t obtain the needed building permits because it is time-consuming and can often be lengthy.

  • Protects Your Property’s Value

Your property, whether it’s a house or a company, is a long-term investment. If your construction project does not adhere to the local building regulations, the value of your investment may decrease.

  • Improves Safety

One of the main reasons you need a building, electrical, or shed permit is to ensure the safety of the residents of the building. The permit enables the building code official to mitigate the risks of hazardous structures in the public interest of health, safety, and welfare.

Following building code requirements will ensure that your finished project meets minimal safety standards and is less likely to injure you, your friends, the future owners, and especially your family.

Can I Sell My House With Unpermitted Work in Maine?

Yes! Selling a house with unpermitted work in Maine is possible. However, your options are limited, and the one you choose depends on how soon you want to sell the house, whether you want to sell your house by yourself, how much money you’re ready to spend, and whether or not you wouldn’t mind selling at a lower price.

Selling is easier when the renovations are minor. For instance, if you hired the services of an electrician or plumber to make a few unpermitted electrical or plumbing modifications in the house, the potential homeowners may be willing to obtain the permits retrospectively and remedy the problem themselves. 

Note that if you are trying to sell your house fast in Auburn, the process follows as well. 

Options for Selling a House with Unpermitted Work

There two options available to homeowners who want to sell their house with unpermitted work without much hassle:

  • Selling Your House “As is”

As a homeowner, selling your house “as is” means you’re willing to sell without making any repairs or improvement to the property before selling. The real estate agent handling the transaction ensures that the sale goes through as quickly as possible without you pouring extra funds into it. In the end, the buyer acquires the property at a low price. 

The main problem with selling a house with unpermitted work (if someone shows interest in buying it) is that you’ll most certainly have to accept a lesser offer. While you may not enjoy hearing this, the home buyer will be responsible for constructing and obtaining the necessary permits.

If you’re going to sell your house “as is,” the first step is to disclose the unpermitted works you’ve done on the property. Ensure the home buyers are aware of what they’re getting into by including unpermitted work wherever necessary.

Sometimes, disclosure is all you need to sell a house with unpermitted work, depending on the type of unpermitted work.

  • Retroactive Permits In Maine

Another possible alternative to selling a house with unpermitted work in Maine is to obtain a retroactive permit. You can return to the county or city to get a permit retroactively if the project is already completed.

Inspectors may ask you to open parts of the walls of a structure in some instances. Others may mandate you to demolish and rebuild sections based on their suggestions.

If you’re applying for a permit for home renovation works done by a previous owner, the county or city may be more lenient. They’re unlikely to bill you for any penalties that may come with a retroactive permit, and they may even offer you extra leeway in terms of meeting deadlines to get the job up to the permitted standard.

The cost of retroactive permits depends on the value and scope of the project. Before traveling to the city for a permit, engage a realtor to go over the existing project – they can give you an estimate of the renovation cost that will bring it up to the current code.

The decision on whether to obtain a retroactive permit is a matter of personal preference and financial constraints. If you have a tight schedule, you may opt to market your house without permits and disclose the unpermitted works you did on it, knowing that it would sell for less. If you have the time, obtaining licenses will result in more seamless selling and better bids from prospective buyers.

Selling Your House to a Cash Home Buyer

Selling Your House to a Cash Home Buyer

Most homebuyers need some finance to purchase a property, typically in the form of a mortgage. Cash home buyers in Maine, on the other hand, will be able to acquire a property without the need for a mortgage loan or other forms of financial help.

Cash homes usually sell for lesser prices than their market value, but there are reasons for that. First, cash bids are low-risk since sellers are not concerned about the prospective buyer’s funding falling through. Secondly, since the seller will not need to spend money, time, or resources on renovating, marketing, or negotiating the property offsets the majority of the decrease in the offer.

There are multiple reasons you consider accepting cash bids for your house. First, the typical mortgage buyer takes about a month or two to complete the transaction, while a cash home buyer may complete the transaction within one or two weeks. But who buys houses for cash? And why? The following are other reasons why you may consider selling your property to cash owners:

  • No Updates or Improvements Needed

When selling a home for cash, you can sell it as is. When you sell your house as-is, the buyer can either take or leave it. You don’t need to commit to making repairs or improvements before the buyer agrees to buy your house.

Therefore with cash bids for houses, there are typically few, if any, conditions.

  • No Real Estate Charges

When you make a cash offer on a property, you avoid paying a fee to a real estate agent. Commission costs are typically about6%, which may add up to a significant portion of your selling price.

A seller will save money on renovations, bank fees, closing costs, and interest fees by taking less money from a cash house buyer than if the offer came from a mortgage buyer.

  • Helps to Prevent Foreclosure

If your house is about to be taken from you owing to an unpaid mortgage, selling it for cash will allow you to pay off your debt and start again.

When it comes to cash purchases, there are at least three categories of people/companies that buy houses in Portland. One category buys your home and later rents it out. Another category called flippers remodels the house and flips it to make profits. The last category is the iBuyers. Unlike flippers, iBuyers buy houses in excellent shape in large quantities and turn them around fast to provide a smooth home-selling experience online via simple digital platforms.


Selling a house with unpermitted work may be complicated and time-consuming but not uncommon. It would be best to make the most important permitting choices before you even list the property for sale.

Finally, it all comes down to time and money. Do you have enough time on your hands to get the permits before putting your home up for sale? Are you comfortable with the price decrease that unpermitted work typically brings? Ensure you work with a renowned local real estate agent to guide you through the best way to continue your sale based on your answers to those questions. 

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